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Old July 4, 2008, 05:04 PM   #1
Join Date: June 13, 2006
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Posts: 57
The House next door got burglarized: A few tips

Happened last Sunday but I didn’t get around to write about it until now.

At around 8 PM or so someone called at my door.
I was in bed with fever (flu), so I checked through the window but there was no one at the front gate.( the 7 feet high iron fence where the front garden meets the sidewalk) so I went back to bead.
A minute later someone rings again, but when I look no one is there.
This time my wife tells me she saw through the window, and it was the woman that lives alone next door. She rang and left as if on a hurry.

That caught my attention, so I got out of bed, put on my jeans, shoes and jacket, the Surefire flashlight and holster with the Glock 31 (checked to see that the chamber was loaded)

My wife stayed inside with my son.

When I got out I saw her, and another neighbor of mine looking from the sidewalk towards her place, but from a distance, as if they were scared to get too close.

She explained to me that she just drove back home and found the door opened. She was very nervous and about to cry, and insisted that she was sure she closed the door before leaving.

It was dark but from a distance using the Surefire we could see that the front door was open and the shutter curtain near by was all twisted as if someone tried to brake in through there too, but found the metal bars on the other side.

After it became obvious that someone broke in she started crying, got pretty nervous. She said she had nothing and now this, that she’s alone, (kids moved out a few years ago), and now what’s she going to do.
They already robbed here 4 times, this one being the 5th. One time they stayed inside for 3 hours, she told me they had beaten her up.
She didn’t say, but I also knew that on that incident they had abused her daughters too.

It came to my mind how many times we discuss things like these and often say “what are the odds?”. Well, for this poor woman, it’s 5 times already. Why should it be any different for any of us? Why should we be immune?

Of course, we didn’t risk going in. I told my wife to call the cops, and my neighbor went in for a cup of tea ( it’s winter here) while I kept an eye on things in front of the house and waited for the cops to show up.

After 15-20 minutes a patrol car came by.

My neighbor came out and the two cops asked if there was anyone inside.
We said we didn’t know. The cops asked if there were any family members inside. She didn’t knew how to answer to that, she was almost certain that no, no family member was inside, but how sure can you be about anything?

The cops drew their Hi Powers and went to the door, asked my neighbor to follow and turn the lights on for them.
I’ve already been through something similar at my wife’s factory, and the cops asked me to go in front to turn the lights on. My guess? They want you to go in first, and not exactly because they don’t know how to turn a damn light switch on.

I gave the cop my Surefiire, but he only got through the front door and then again insisted that she should go first to turn the lights on….
I asked the cop for my light and went with her.
To the cops credit, at least they kept their guns close to their bodies and with the barrel pointing down and didn’t cover me with the muzzle at any time.
I didn’t want to draw my gun near the cops but I kept my hand on my Glock’s butt just in case. Even if it was clear that anyone that robbed the place already left, you never know for sure so it’s better to be cautious.

No one was inside and they didn’t take much, but it was pretty sad to hear the woman cry all the time. Everything was upside down, books, cutlery, everything was out of the shelves and drawers. The house was one big mess.

She kept on saying that she had nothing, that they already stole her jewelry and anything of value the previous times.

Turns out they stole a bit o money she had and a small radio/CD player gadget.

The worst thing was her front door.
The solid wooden door was torn up, one of the locks was all bent up but still in place, the other one was destroyed lying the floor.

Cops say they used a sledge hammer, looks to me like they just put a crowbar to good use and tore up the door and locks pretty good.

“How am I going to sleep know, with this door in this condition?” She asked.

All I could think of was to get a ladder so as to block the door from the inside.

I thought about offering her a gun, but I dismissed the thought immediately, since she’s obviously not a gun person and I’m legally responsible for anything that gets done with my guns.

Her son and a friend showed up later, and it turned out, her son got her home ensured without here even knowing, so that was a bit of a good news.

I went back home once I saw she was ok, and my wife hugged me, touching my Glock under the clothes and said “I’m glad you are the way you are” which was a nice thing to hear after all those “you and your guns” naggings.

They went to sleep and I stayed talking on the Messenger phone with a friend.
Stayed up late and only slept like 3 or 4 hours, I didn’t feel like sleeping anyway.

One thing that surprised us was how bold the robbers were.
That Sunday we took our son to see the latest “Hulk” movie, ( pretty good by the way) and we left about 3 PM, came back 6.30 PM, give or take.

When leaving we didn’t see anything wrong so they must have robbed while we were out, on broad daylight, probably with a guy on the street in case cops or the house owners came back.

A few things to learn from this:

1) Have a house alarm, and a safe for your valuable stuff.
There’s no excuse for not having an alarm these days, and safes are also pretty cheap.

2) Improve your security as much as possible so that robbers choose other places.
No one managed to get into my house yet, and they did try.
Once with me inside. Pointing a gun through the window sent that guy away in an instant.
Meantime her house got robbed 5 times by now.
Front gates between the sidewalk and your front door provide an invaluable layer of protection. Add an alarm, a dog and a good security door, and robbers will sure find a much easier target to entertain themselves.

3) Cops took 15-20 minutes to get here, and that was pretty fast for local standards. Still, 15 minutes is too long if someone shot you/is choking you to death/raping you or your family just to name a few options. You are your first and last line of defense, make sure you can defend yourself.

4) In spite of every caution, no house is invulnerable. If you can keep some money and emergency gear in a second location in case you loose everything else, at least you wont be starting from zero.

5) Unless you are 5 years old or an 90 year old granny that can’t lift a finger, do everything in your power to be as proficient in defending yourself as possible. And I’m not talking only about guns.
This woman’s house, even though medium size, was designed in such a way that spaces and halls where pretty reduced and it was easy to see how a fight in there, even if you have a firearm, would end up being a hand to hand fight, and I know there are LOTS of small houses or apartments where the same holds truth.
Guns aren’t magic talismans, if quarters are reduced you better have something else to offer than good accuracy.

Every person capable of getting him/herself into fighting shape should do so, and train as much as possible.
Maybe getting into a ring every week isn’t your thing, but at least you can ( you should!) stay in shape, round not being an option.
Those that don’t like to fight can still work out and take at least a couple self defense classes a year so as to have some hand to hand moves to use in an emergency.

6) Make yourself train, work out and shoot even when you don’t feel well.
Last Sunday I was planning on going to the range but I canceled because I wasn’t feeling well. The following day I had no choice but to grab my gun and go out, even with a fever.
It’s better to get used to performing even when not 100%, so that when it happens for real at least you are a bit more used to.
Next time you feel like canceling a trip to the range or gym because you don’t feel well, consider it a training bonus instead.

7) Get body armor and use it when you have a chance.
I have mine but didn’t put it on because I didn’t know what was going on. I should have taken a couple extra seconds and put it under my jacket.
Just takes like 5 more seconds ( kept with only one side open) and can truly save your life if things get ugly.

8) Carry you gun always, or at least, leave it in your car if you are going out. An extra flashlight and body armor vest in the vehicle would be perfect too.
It SUCKS, I repeat SUCKS, to get back home, find your front door smashed, and all your cool tactical survival rifles and grenade launchers are nicely tucked in your safe, right next to the burglars, while you are unarmed outside…. And lets not even think about THOSE guns you left in the night table or under the bed for quick access, which are now in the hands of the criminals waiting for you to get in and blow your head off.

Happened to me once, lost my first Glock 31 that way, will never happen again.

9)Have boards and wood around to secure broken doors and windows, it will save you from sleeping completely vulnerable if for any reason your doors or windows get broken.
I had to rush to get materials when our beach house got broken into several years ago and this woman had the same problem.

I wanted to share these thoughts with you people because it’s a pretty typical situation and many can learn from it and maybe save them from learning the hard way.

Take care everyone.

FerFAL is offline  
Old July 4, 2008, 06:17 PM   #2
Yankee Traveler
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Join Date: April 17, 2008
Location: Middle Tennessee
Posts: 255
Thanks for keeping it fresh.
As you pointed out, all the weapons, training and frame of mind are useless if you are not home during break in (for many that would be best) But a BFD is always a fine deterent, even if your not a "dog person". they can save your valuables or your life.
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Old July 4, 2008, 11:39 PM   #3
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Location: Texas
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We have a Doberman that patrols our home and property. Normally we also have an imported German Shepherd as well, but at the moment we're a one-dog home.

But our Doberman will rip your lungs out if you do not belong. If you do, he'll sit in your lap and watch TV with you while he tries to steal your hot dog or hamburger. He's the product of hundreds upon hundreds of hours of careful, meticulous training.

Yes, people can get around dogs. Our dog will not eat except from his bowl and from a "known" hand. Once on station, you will not distract him with a bitch in heat, a cat, duplicate "bad guys" playing the shell game, etc. He's too well-trained for that, and we do break-in scenarios with him between once and twice a month.

When we have our usual two, and sometimes three dogs (either a pair of Dobermans or German Shepherds, or two of one and one of the other), you're going to have a hard time getting past them. You might be able to shoot one of them, but if THAT happens, the other one is going to hurt you bad.

A lot of folks cannot have guns due to their locale or situation. A good, well-trained dog can be a huge deterrent.

Another great deterrent is something that we've seem to have lost, at least in this country.

And that's good neighbors who actually look out for each other.

We let our neighbors know who belongs and who doesn't and what they drive. They know the folks who take care of our yards, as well as what kind of car our maid drives. Likewise, we know who belongs and who doesn't at our end of the dead-end street.

We also have a strong neighborhood watch program in our housing division. I'm one of the volunteer "captains" since I'm ex-law enforcement. Several other of our "captains" are former military, and together, we've organized a nice, effective watch group.

The result is that in the past eight or so years since we formed our neighborhood watch team, we have not had one burglary, and only two cases of vandalism. We didn't catch the little teenage scumbags for the first one, bug did on their second go-around. We caught several would-be burglars in the first year and we were pretty rough on them. Word got around via the county jail, that ours was a neighborhood to pass on by.

We even made up our own signs stating that our neighborhood was patrolled 24/7 by ex-military veterans and that we have zero-tolerance for criminal behavior. And if you're a registered sex-offender, don't even think about getting anywhere near us.

We're not real popular with the local pissant police, but our local PD can't find their own backsides with a map, flashlight and a GPS.

Funny thing is, in the past five years or so, our property values have appreciated faster and higher than neighboring divisions. Crime free neighborhoods tend to do that.

If every single gun owner belonged to the NRA as well as their respective state rifle/gun association, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in today.

So to those of you who are members of neither, thanks for nothing.
TexasSeaRay is offline  
Old July 5, 2008, 01:55 AM   #4
Join Date: March 10, 2008
Posts: 20
What about those not able to learn martial arts etc. to defend themselves? Should they just hope they don't get robbed or assaulted?
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Old July 5, 2008, 02:15 AM   #5
B. Lahey
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Location: Indiana
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I gave the cop my Surefiire, but he only got through the front door and then again insisted that she should go first to turn the lights on
My response to that demand would have been a simple "no". You say you have encountered this before, would they still go in if you refused to enter first, or do you think they would just pack up and leave?

I can certainly understand why they would not want to be first in the door, but for cops on a burglary call, that's kind of their job, isn't it?

I never thought there was any reason for regular Joes to own flash-bang grenades, but if I lived in a nation where the cops expected me to lead the way in a room-to-room sweep for criminals, I think I would be investing in some.
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Old July 5, 2008, 05:18 AM   #6
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I gave the cop my Surefiire, but he only got through the front door and then again insisted that she should go first to turn the lights on
I wonder what their next excuse would be if you whipped out an X10 remote, pressed "all on," and told them you were quite comfy outside.
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Old July 5, 2008, 08:43 AM   #7
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Cops making the home occupant go in first with possible intruders in the house? WTH? I've never heard of or seen anything like that. Most cops I know are capable of turning on lights and would already have nice flashlights to boot.

Here, they would have waited and gone in w/ a K9...

Last edited by JohnKSa; July 7, 2008 at 11:30 PM. Reason: Acronym adjustment...
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Old July 5, 2008, 11:12 AM   #8
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Another great deterrent is something that we've seem to have lost, at least in this country.

And that's good neighbors who actually look out for each other.
Amen. I am one those good ole "pain in the ass" nosey neighbors...

Cops making the home occupant go in first with possible intruders in the house? WTH?
Welcome to Buenos Aires?
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Old July 5, 2008, 12:06 PM   #9
chris in va
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Location: Louisville KY
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Cops making the home occupant go in first with possible intruders in the house? WTH? I've never heard of or seen anything like that
He's from Argentina. Things are done differently down there.

My vote is for her to get a rather large dog. Raise it from a puppy though so he/she will bond to her.

Can she also at least get a shotgun of some sort?
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Old July 5, 2008, 11:07 PM   #10
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When the alarm went off at work, I was called. I arrived at the same time as the local police. They asked that I go in first... unarmed. Its not a good feeling.
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Old July 5, 2008, 11:42 PM   #11
Rifleman 173
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Join Date: August 16, 2007
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 589
Those cops were letting the first person in the door be the potential target for any hidden gunmen. Down there in S. America, cops are targets 24/7 and they don't take any chances on any calls. They get tired of being shot at or shot so you get to lead the way into the house and take the first bullet. Not them.
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Old July 8, 2008, 02:50 AM   #12
Join Date: June 13, 2006
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Posts: 57
John_Z wrote:
What about those not able to learn martial arts etc. to defend themselves? Should they just hope they don't get robbed or assaulted?
Is that inability real, something that has no solution? You can’t work out, practice a few times a week as part of your physical training?

If you really have a limitation due to age ( I’ve known people in their late 50’s that still boxed well) or because of some physical problem that really can’t be solved, then at least understand the disadvantage this implies.

I’d try to learn at lest some basic self defense moves, and practice them a lot until they become second nature.
Of course carrying your firearm, pepper spray and an edged weapon, as many tricks as you can to compensate for the lack of hand to hand fighting ability.

I mentioned the need for unarmed combat because in a recent shooting class I took it was painfully sad to see how many good action shooters would get “killed” every time by unarmed attackers, simply because they grabbed the gun and got it away from them and used it against them. Excellent marksmen but poor fighters, and one particular guy lost every single time against the unarmed attacker.

You need to be able to fight when you don’t have the range or space to use your firearm, and since most attacks occur at very close range, this is a very real possibility.

chris in va, I teach people how to shoot every time I see a small glimpse of interest or potential of it, but this woman is 100% sheep, if you know what I mean.

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Old July 8, 2008, 04:17 AM   #13
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FerFAL sounds like you live in a rough neighborhood.
I am glad I don't live there.
I live out in the woods in the Estados Unidos and I don't even lock my doors.
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Old July 9, 2008, 05:19 PM   #14
Join Date: November 19, 2007
Posts: 92
I´m living in Argentina too... and the situation is getting dangerous, mostly because of a weird way to use the "Human rights" laws and related stuff. Burglars and thieves have more and more rights every day, and may God help us all...
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